One time in my second year of undergraduate English Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, I met a fellow student who had recently completed two terms as a visiting student at Concordia University in Montreal. What an interesting idea, I thought - a visiting student. Kind of like an exchange student, but the in-Canada version.
Now, about two years later, I find myself here at the University of Winnipeg as exactly that - a visiting student. Of course there are paperwork-related headaches (aren’t there always?) and new things to get used to, but so far I am really glad to be here - let me tell you about my Winnipeg experience so far.
First of all, I should explain how I ended up here. You’ve probably noticed that it is not every University of Waterloo student that wrestles with Canadian university systems - which are really quite accommodating, just sometimes slow - in order to come to Winnipeg (nor is it every University of Winnipeg student who goes to Waterloo).
A significant reason for my being here is that Winnipeg is where my mom was born and raised. For my whole life, I have visited Winnipeg several times. But really, a week of family reunions (which I really do enjoy) does not give one an adequate impression of a city, so I’m hoping a term will do. I am also interested in learning about some of the cultural groups represented here in Winnipeg, and going to a smaller, more arts-focused school is really interesting.
My grandparents (Winnipeggers) are very active people, and my family has always been amazed at the number of events in which they manage to participate. Being here for even just a month, though, I am noticing that many Winnipeggers seem to share a love of community events, festivals, gatherings, etc. – I am almost overwhelmed by all that seems to be taking place on a regular basis, on and off campus, e.g., all hours of the day and night during Nuit Blanche.
I have appreciated warm welcomes from several on-campus groups, including the Improv Club and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and also from individual people in classes and even in line at Student Central (for a couple of hours) during the first week.
From volunteering at Siloam Mission to taking a conversational French course at Universite de St. Boniface, I am getting to see some different sides of the city, and I look forward to discovering more about this place that I think is one of Canada’s jewels.
Rachel Dyck is a visiting student at the University of Winnipeg from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. She is taking an English major and a French minor and is enjoying Winnipeg so far!